The curious thing about being a fan of brasshouse? You’re pretty much talking about being into one solitary but extremely unforgettable band: the amusingly monikered Too Many Zooz.
The musical style was “branded” by drummer King of Sludge, who recognized that there was no worthy existing classification for the New York trio, whose other two members are the equally unclassifiable Leo P (saxophone) and Matt Doe (trumpet).
“Brasshouse is a high energy musical conversation,” Matt insists. “Though I honestly don’t think there is a good way to describe it in words. It’s about many different feelings and sounds and emotions.”
Or as KOS so decisively puts it, “I don’t really care about what’s happening in music — I just make art that I enjoy making.”
It’s exactly this indifference to convention and trend that has garnered Too Many Zooz a fanbase that KOS describes as “wide-ranging and fanatical.” One of those fans? In 2016, Beyonce asked them to perform with her at the Billboard Music Awards…and it’s quite possible they got just as much attention as did she.
After two years, a gazillion live performances and four EPs, their debut album Subway Gawdz (an unsubtle reference to their birth in the underground stations of NYC), was released to enthusiastic acclaim in 2016. Its sound was truly like nothing else, with inescapable grooves that take in dub, soul, funk and ska, utterly exhilarating horn blasts that shoot right up your spine, and, of course, equal doses of fun and attitude.
And right now, TMZ are riding higher than ever, surely poised for the leap into genuinely widespread international recognition that was likley inevitable since they first set foot in an NYC subway station. Indeed, following a deal with Ministry of Sound, their single “Warriors” racked up major play on Radio One (if you think you haven’t heard it, when you hear it, you’ll quickly realize you already have), followed by high-profile remixes from the likes of Armand Van Helden and KDA.
Then, UK sensation Jess Glynne penned lyrics and added vocals to morph the song into “So Real (Warriors),” which has been generating massive buzz while climbing the European charts. In the meanwhile, a live video for “Car Alarm” has furtively racked up more than 500K views in one week.
But surely signaling their mainstream “arrival”? A Canadian KFC commercial featured the band and their songs — so don’t be surprised if listening to their music suddenly makes you hungry.
Though they’ve also been up to more serious matters. Leo, in fact, was asked to play at the BBC Proms Charles Mingus tribute at a sold-out Royal Albert Hall in August 2017 — certainly no small honor.
Yet for all this, the forward plan for Too Many Zooz, is, as ever, constant touring. The reason is simple: it’s their outrageous, electrifying live performances that consistently continue to add the numbers to their growing worldwide legion of fans. Autumn 2018 will take them coast to coast, from Seattle to Houston to Philadelphia, and across Europe, with stops in Krakow, Strasbourg and Marseille, amongst others.
“I don’t think there’s any recording that can do a live performance justice,” reckons Matt. “You’ll see people of all different colors, creeds, genders, ages, sexuality at our shows. I really can’t find a constant between them…besides liking our music — haha.”
But for everything that’s happened in the last couple of years, the trio aren’t actually all that surprised by their success.
“I always knew we had something special,” Leo enthuses. “Thousands of people everyday loved our music…and I knew it would just continue to spread.”
“Sweet Crude is an extremely exciting new group with haunting and mesmerizing vocals sung in Louisiana French and English.”
“When most think of New Orleans, what usually comes to mind immediately are wild Mardi Gras celebrations, great jazz, and Cafe Du Monde’s famed beignets. Hailing from the Louisiana city, rising indie pop six-piece Sweet Crude know there’s so much more to be found and appreciated: a richness in culture and history, which they’ve deftly woven into the foundation of their work.”
– Consequence of Sound
Over the past few years, Sweet Crude has managed to take the music and language of Louisiana and produce a completely fresh music that thrusts century-old traditions into the present. The six-piece band consistently delivers exciting shows featuring enough drums for a small marching band, exuberantly bellowed harmonies, and lyrics that jump from English to Louisiana French in a sin-gle verse. Boasting surnames like Marceaux and Chachere, Sweet Crude seeks to reconnect with their lineage in a way that draws on their own modern influences, while nodding to the music and language of their ancestors.
The members of Sweet Crude all hail from South Louisiana, a region which still holds onto its unique culture and way of life stronger than anywhere else in the United States.That said, many of those elements are fading with time as American culture gradually becomes more homogenized. This trend can be seen most directly in the gradual fade of the Louisiana French language. The members of Sweet Crude grew up with grandparents and great grandparents that spoke the region’s native dialect as their first language, yet with each successive generation, that language gets lost to time. Instead of singing the language in its usual music genres, zydeco and cajun, Sweet Crude draws on their own influences coming mainly from New Orleans music, pop, and indie rock to produce a sound that is accessible to today’s generation. In essence, they are taking the language out the museum, weaving it in with English, and giving it fresh legs and relevancy for years to come.
Sweet Crude released their debut LP Créatures in April of 2017 on Rhyme and Reason Records and followed the release with performances at major US festivals such as Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and High Sierra. In addition to headlining their own US tours, they hit the road with their dear friends, Tank and the Bangas, on a sold-out nationwide club tour that lasted through the summer and fall. The band also won the Big Easy Award for “Best Rock Band” in New Orleans in both 2017 and 2018.
Sweet Crude has gone on to sign with Verve Records and will be releasing music on the label starting in the fall of 2019.